EREF Honors its First 'Environmentalist of the Year'

Washington, DC - The Environmental Research and Education Foundation (EREF) held its inaugural Environmentalist of the Year award gala in Washington, DC in The Ronald Reagan Building on 14th Street.

Earth Force, a national non-profit organization based in Alexandria, Virginia, is the first recipient of the foundation's award. Earth Force is committed to young people changing their communities while developing life-long habits of active citizenship and environmental stewardship. Since its founding a decade ago, Earth Force has worked with over 100,000 youth from all over the United States.

The Honorable Spencer Abraham, Secretary of Energy, presented Tom Martin, president of Earth Force, with a faceted, engraved crystal awardand Tom Van Weelden, chairman and CEO of Allied Waste Industries, in company with EREF Chairman Ron McCracken, gave Mr. Martin the foundation's check for $50,000.

EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, unable to attend this year's festivities, provided greetings and congratulations through a video feed. Whitman said, "I applaud the Environmental Research and Education Foundation for their leadership in finding solutions for the future of our environment and for recognizing the critical role Earth Force is playing in reaching that goal." She further added, "it will require all of our collective effort to answer the environmental challenges of the 21st Century. Thanks to the commitment of everyone assembled tonight, I am confident that our response will be decisive and our achievement great."

Allied Waste Industries, Inc., whose headquarters are in Scottsdale, Arizona, sponsored the gala. In addition to the main sponsorship of Allied Waste Industries, the event also was supported by contributions from Bes-Pac Company, the Dean and Rosemarie Buntrock Foundations, EarthCare Company, Independent Environmental Services, Inc. Republic Services, Inc., Waste Industries, Inc., and Waste Management.

The mission of EREF is to develop enviromental solutions for the future through research and education (

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